What’s saucy and smoky and perfectly themed to Thanksgiving week? Rigatoni with Vegan Pumpkin Vodka Sauce! Get ready for some wet noodle sounds (or blast some music so you don’t have to hear them) and whip up this easy and delicious weeknight vegan dinner. The recipe is a plant-based twist on classic vodka sauce and it’s absolutely delicious.
Does vodka sauce taste like vodka? I can see why people might ask that question, but it absolutely doesn’t. When simmered, the sharp alcoholic taste of the vodka cooks off and what’s left beautifully amplifies the other flavors of the sauce. It’s actually pretty amazing what a distinct taste it offers, allowing the pumpkin and umami-rich tomato paste to shine through. Not into using vodka? Just swap in an equal amount of vegetable broth. It won’t technically be vodka sauce anymore, but it’s going to be delicious anyway.
Traditional vodka sauce uses heavy cream and parmesan. We can achieve the same smooth texture and rich flavor with a package of our Smoked Gouda Cheeze Spread. Plus, the subtle smokiness adds such delicious depth to the sauce!
I chose rigatoni because I love how the fat tubular shape of the noodle vibes with really creamy sauces like this one. Feel free to swap in your favorite pasta or even a gluten-free option. Chopped walnuts and fresh thyme add a touch of texture and fall flavor to the finished meal. I hope your family loves this one!
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Rigatoni with Vegan Pumpkin Vodka Sauce Recipe
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Serves 4 to 5
- 1 lb rigatoni pasta
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- ½ yellow onion, finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- ⅓ cup vodka
- ¾ cup pumpkin puree
- 1 package Plant Perks Smoked Gouda Cheeze Spread
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- Raw walnuts, chopped, for serving
- Fresh thyme, for serving
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the rigatoni. Return to a boil and cook the pasta for 11 to 13 minutes (or according to your package directions), until al dente. Before draining, reserve ½ cup of cooking water and set it aside.
- Warm the olive oil in a deep skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onion and garlic and season with ½ teaspoon of salt. Sauté the onion and garlic for 3 minutes.
- Add the tomato paste to the skillet and sauté for 5 minutes more. At this point the tomato paste should have turned dark red.
- Pour the vodka into the skillet and scrape up any bits that are stuck to the bottom of the pan. Continue to cook for a minute more.
- Add the pumpkin puree, Smoked Gouda Cheeze Spread, and ¼ cup of vegetable broth to the skillet and stir to combine. Continue adding the vegetable broth ¼ cup at a time until it’s fully incorporated.
- Transfer the cooked and drained rigatoni to the skillet with the sauce and gently stir to coat the pasta. Add a splash of reserved cooking water if needed to thin the sauce to the perfect silky consistency.
- Serve the Rigatoni with Vegan Pumpkin Vodka Sauce warm, topped with chopped walnuts and fresh thyme.